Why You Should Teach your Dog Tricks
Teaching your dog how to do tricks seems to divide dog owners. There are those who think it’s a waste of time, and others who believe that it is well worth the effort. Probably unsurprisingly, I am firmly in the second camp of thought.
There are a number of reasons why training your dog tricks is valuable, and it isn’t just so you can show off, as fun as that might be.
Training tricks is a lot more fun than training general obedience, for both you and your dog. Why? Because a dog who is being disobedient gets rewarded for their behaviour – they steal food off the kitchen counter, get to greet people in the face when they jump up, get attention for barking… the list goes on. When it comes to tricks though – there isn’t any self-fulfilling reward for not rolling over or not giving a paw. Trick training is full of rewards which come directly and only from YOU. This not only makes the training more fun for your dog, but it also make you a lot more fun in his eyes too. The result? A stronger bond and better friendship with your pooch.
If your dog is young or high energy and never seems to relax, then you might need to help him chill out now and again. You might think that an extra long walk will do the trick, but for a lot of dogs a longer walk just doesn’t send them to sleepy town. The best way to calm a hyper pooch is a mixture of physical and mental stimulation. So, as well as those daily walks why not add in a daily trick training session? Give your pooch a mental workout and he will not only calm down that day, but he will be a more balanced and contented dog in general.
Trick training is still training, and the skills he will learn will help him in other areas of his life too. Through this fun filled training your dog will be more inclined to listen and obey. The tricks can also be great tools for distraction too. For example, if Bruce is on a train journey with me and is showing signs of stress then practicing a few quiet tricks will often snap him out of it by switching his focus.
Some tricks can even help your dog stay physically fit. For example, ‘sit pretty’ which involves sitting on the back legs and raising the front legs is great for back and core strength which will greatly benefit your dog as they age and could prevent injury.
Providing mental stimulation for your dog on a regular basis not only calms them and helps keep their temperament balanced, but will also aid them in old age. It’s like brain training for your pup – keeping their minds active could prevent dementia.
Do you teach your dog tricks?